Everything Leans

A couple of weeks ago, on short notice and somewhat of a whim, I hastily packed, got in my car and met my brother, Brian, in Harrisburg, PA, where we then traveled together for a wonderful trip to Asheville, NC. He is a beekeeper (among other vocations) and needed to pick up six “nukes” of bees to refresh his own colonies. The adventure was ON!
We were both due for some R&R … I was ill with a kidney infection, and he simply needed to rejuvenate and restore. We chose the “long way” by driving all the way to Asheville down the Blue Ridge Parkway … a glorious trip every mile. We stayed in some funky motels, ate in country restaurants, and feasted all of our senses on the full glory of Spring in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was an easy, casual, unhurried trip … and we got to spend some truly special time together. Brian got his bees, I got to visit with a dear, long-time friend for several days, and we both got the healing and rest we needed. The return trip was “abuzz” with the bees in the back of the van, and us enjoying the sweet smell of honey and beeswax the whole trip back. Back in Harrisburg, where I had left my car, we each chose our separate routes for the final legs of our trip, sad to be parting, but satisfied we had spent such a rich and joyous time together.

Our first “destination” was Montecello, VA, Jefferson’s home and retreat both before, during, and after his time in service to the budding Nation.
We got on The Blue Ridge Parkway at it’s uppermost entry point, in Waynesboro, VA, not far from Montecello.

Hidden falls along the way.
We discovered so many “secrets” and hidden treasures along the way, just by walking down a few trails and listening for what was next.

Flaming azaleas.
So many flowering plants this time of year … and hardly a car in view. Sometimes we drove for hours without seeing another vehicle … and after Memorial Day it will be a mob along the BRP. We couldn’t have done this at a better time of year.

Rhodies, near the end of their season in the Blue Ridge.

The Blue Ridge Mountains.
We stopped or slowed down at so many of the “viewpoints”, it’s no wonder it took us nearly 2 1/2 days to drive from Monticello to Asheville (only an 8-9 hour drive on the SuperSlab roads)

A restored mill along the Blue Ridge. At one time is was a gristmill, sawmill, and supplied power for other machinery. There was also a blacksmith shop and wheel works shop. And all of this was run by a husband and wife, with little assistance from anyone else.
Brian and I could both see him as a master carpenter working in a mill like this. Who knows, perhaps he did in some other lifetime?

The best small-town restaurant the whole trip! Fresh eggs, organic veggies, homemade sausage.
The folks that owned this wonderful restaurant, Cristina’s, owned a small family farm and have the restaurant to supplement the farm’s income. Family Farms are making a comeback in some of the rural areas, but it’s a long road and incredibly hard work to make it financially feasible. If you can support local farms in your area, make it your mission to buy from them during the growing season.Just

Simply stunning.

Yes, that’s really a van full of bees! Sweet girls with their queens, ready to go to work when they reach RI. Mmmmm … the scent is wonderful. Honey and beeswax. Made my mouth water all the way.
And now, just this week (Wednesday), Brian suffered a significant heart attack and will be needing a triple bypass to restore his health. We both could not be more grateful for the journey we were given. Of course, we expect a full recovery, and Brian looks forward to a full and rich life in the years to come. And we both know “things happen” … that we don’t plan on, that we don’t “expect”. What we do know, and acknowledge, is that every moment is a gift, and if you are waiting for “later” for some moment in your life to connect with the people you love … well, “later” is NOW, and THIS is the moment to do it … because that moment, that “later” moment, may never come.

Brian, looking at new vistas, where ever they may be found.
[If any of you know my brother, Brian, we have started a Caring Bridge website for updates and status. If you would like to receive updates, please go to CaringBridge.org and search on Brian’s name, Brian Fiske, or click this link for Beetle’s Beehive Buzz.

Everything leans.